For my first article at Authentic Medicine, I’ll reference a recent article I published at Doximity.com as I think the concept is important for many of us. The article begins:
“The FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement is hot, and even now, many physicians advocate for its benefits. The concept is usually to work hard and live frugally to the point that full retirement is available in one’s forties. Just do an internet search for “physician” and “FIRE” and you’ll see what I mean.”
The article goes on to mention that there are some negatives to a FIRE philosophy- a perhaps unnecessary continued strategy of delayed gratification after the many years of school and residency being one. It also mentions that likelihood that being “retired” for four or more decades may not be either financially or mentally healthy.
As an alternative, the article suggests a FIRO approach-which is financial independence, retirement optional. It suggests that working longer as a physician and/or changing careers may lead to more long term satisfaction and financial security than actually retiring early. Along these lines:
“I think taking on a FIRO strategy is a good way to prevent physician burnout. It involves a commitment (hopefully early in one’s career) to be able to change or modify your day to day life within 20 years of leaving training (coincidentally, it fits with getting the kids launched). A good FIRO strategy would include living at least a little below one’s means and having a disciplined approach towards investing for the long term. It means making sure that all the other financial issues are covered on an ongoing basis.”
A number of physician choices to practice part time and do other things (Doctors without Borders, teaching in Africa, military service in the Reserves) are discussed as FIRO choices. The article concludes:
“Taking a FIRO strategy leaves the second half of life more interesting and perhaps exciting. A physician might just decide that they like practicing medicine at that point and continue along. But knowing that they have the option to spend their time in a different and hopefully meaningful way should provide a better path to their future.”
I hope you find this concept both interesting and a potential strategy with your career.